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Saving Electronic Spare Change

March 28, 2012, 9:50 PM by Angela Kennecke

Saving Electronic Spare Change

A lot of people save their spare change in a jar and eventually lug it to the bank.  But now one financial institution is letting you save your electronic spare change.

Every time you swipe, you could be saving.  Sioux Empire Federal Credit Union will soon let its members round up their purchases to the nearest dollar and put the extra in a savings account.

"So for instance, if you go to the gas station and you buy $39.50 worth of gas, 50 cents of that will be transferred into a savings account of your choice,” Collin Long of the Sioux Empire Federal Credit Union said.

The credit union has been letting employees test out the program while it gets ready to introduce it to its customers.

"One of our staff members tried it out the other day and she said she had saved $3 in one day just using it.  You think of that over the course of several days and then months of the year and that's a significant savings," Long said.

Teller Abbey Smith has high hopes it will help her save for her new home. 

"I was excited because I never use cash. I see people bringing in their change all the time at the credit union and adding it to their savings for emergencies and since I never use cash that's never been an option for me.  It's basically a way for someone like me who doesn't use cash to save my spare change," Smith said.

In one week, her "electronic" spare change has added up to $20.

"I shop mostly the grocery store, the gas station, things like that.  Little trips to the grocery store add up. Each trip I make I save 75 cents, 25 cents here and there, Smith said.

Smith says it gives her the discipline she needs to save a little more.

"I see people come in with their jars of change and people say they have up to $1,400 a year for their spare change.  I’ve got to say it's a little lighter than lugging in a piggy bank," Smith said.

The program will be available to the credit union members in April.

They can also take part in another new program called "Dividend Donations," which allows savings account holders to donate the interest they earn to four local non-profit agencies in Sioux Falls.  The charities are Feeding South Dakota Backpack Program, Make-A-Wish, The Humane Society and Children's Home Society.

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